Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by richyrich @richyrich, Nov 2, 2016

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for years and tried to get off it a few times but each time I try to give up the chemical withdrawal symptoms are a horror story and I give up giving up. Anyone got any tips or tried and tested strategies? Thank you

Hello @dixiesister, and welcome to Connect.

Speaking from experience, unfortunately high blood pressure or hypertension is one of the possible side effects with long-term use of Effexor. But more concerning is that you “Do not stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. This will decrease the chance of side effects, such as agitation, confusion, headache, irritability, numbness or tingling feeling, restlessness, trouble sleeping, or unusual drowsiness or weakness.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/venlafaxine-oral-route/precautions/drg-20067379

I’d like to invite @nanke99 @richyrich @cathy615 @hayleesmommy @bekinprogress @careth2 @linxy @elecia87 @lolita9 @salela, and others in this group to share their thoughts and insights as well.

@dixiesister, would you be able to share some more details? For how long have you been taking Effexor? May I ask why you decided to stop? We look forward to getting to know you.

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@kanaazpereira thank you for responding. Today I thought I was having a heart attack. I was so hot that I had one bag of ice tied on the back of my head and one on the bottoms of feet. B/p of 144/100 scared the hell out of me. The excessive crying really upsets me because I hate to cry for any reason. I’ve been on Effexor for 10+ years. I’m wanting off for Religious reasons. Once I found Yahweh (God) and read more of the scripture I found out he doesn’t want us to use anything that doesn’t grow in nature. When I read where that other person on here said that getting off Effexor was worse then trying to get off heroin it scared me.. but reading others made me realize it’s going to take longer than I thought. Thanks again for replying now I know since i aready take meds for my b/p.. I need to go have my b/p checked more often.

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@dixiesister

@kanaazpereira thank you for responding. Today I thought I was having a heart attack. I was so hot that I had one bag of ice tied on the back of my head and one on the bottoms of feet. B/p of 144/100 scared the hell out of me. The excessive crying really upsets me because I hate to cry for any reason. I’ve been on Effexor for 10+ years. I’m wanting off for Religious reasons. Once I found Yahweh (God) and read more of the scripture I found out he doesn’t want us to use anything that doesn’t grow in nature. When I read where that other person on here said that getting off Effexor was worse then trying to get off heroin it scared me.. but reading others made me realize it’s going to take longer than I thought. Thanks again for replying now I know since i aready take meds for my b/p.. I need to go have my b/p checked more often.

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@dixiesister – Where did you read that we should only what is found in nature?

Curious to know.

Jim

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now down to 37.5 mg but cant seem to go lower. I have found a compounding chemist who will make capsules in any lower dose so going to try that with a slower withdrawal.

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@wendyw

now down to 37.5 mg but cant seem to go lower. I have found a compounding chemist who will make capsules in any lower dose so going to try that with a slower withdrawal.

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@wendyw – Are you going to be changing to another antidepressant?

Jim

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@careth2

Hi there! I am new to Connect, but hopefully can offer some insight. I DID go off 150 Effexor XR (name brand) COLD TURKEY on January 2016. I survived it, but will never in my life EVER go off ANY antidepressant cold turkey. I had taken Effexor for at least 8 years, Zoloft prior to that and and Imipramine (sp?) as the first antidepressant (in all 25+ years on antidepressants.) It all started with running out of meds over a long weekend and deciding it was time to try to get off antidepressants to see how I would do. Since I had recently retired from teaching, thought this would be an ideal time to give it a go. In addition, Effexor just wasn’t helping all that much anymore (I thought.) The first 3 days I felt like I was going to die! When I realized that I wasn’t dying, decided to keep going to get it all over with. In addition to the symptoms you have heard about, I had deep bone/joint pain that felt like I was being pinched with clamps. Also had skin sensations and peeling, and noticed a strange smell on my skin. Each day got a little better and by the 3rd week started to function a bit more normally. I was very emotional, however, which caused my family great concern. Well, to make a long story short, the depression crept back in full and I am still trying to get my life back. I did everything I could to stay stable, including herbal supplements and took a vacation where I hiked 6 miles daily for 9 days on hilly, rocky terrain. I finally had to accept that I’m a person who will need antidepressants for the rest of my life. With the help of a PCP and counselor, I am on my 3rd antidepressant & may need to resort to going back on Effexor, because nothing seems to be working. All in all, in my opinion, the chronic depression is worse than the withdrawal symptoms that do eventually end. If you are a person with situational depression, you may be successful weaning off Effexor gradually. If I were to do it again, that’s what I would do (while replacing Effexor with something else.) Here are the things that helped me with the physical withdrawal symptoms:
1. Get plenty of sleep/rest.
2. Eat a very well-balanced diet (this is not the time to worry about your weight.) Lots of soup & easy to digest foods the 1st few days.
3. Drink plenty of water, including coconut water.
4. Have a glass of wine in the evening (if advisable.)
5. Get outside and walk or other excersize (the warm sunshine will feel good!)
6. Hot yoga 3-4 times per week. Stay in class even if you feel nauseous & can only do a few postures.
7. Soak in a hot tub (with bath salts if available.)
8. Use a good moisturizer on face & body several times per day.
9. Get several professional massages.
10. Take Tylenol for muscle pain, if OK on your stomach.
11. A heating pad is also helpful at bedtime or during naps.
12. If you are single & live alone, make sure a few trusted friends/family members know what you are doing.
13. In general, be kind & gentle to yourself.
14. NEVER give up! Keep going, even when you don’t feel like it (which will be often.) YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

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my son has weaned himself down to 37.5 mg of Effexor but the side affects are terrible when he tries to cut that out. He has now gone to a compounding chemist who will make it in lower dosages in a slow release capsule. He says the times he has come off Zoloft were a breeze for him compared to Effexor. Everyone reacts differently.

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This is actually for my 40 year old son. He has been on several medications for anxiety over many years. His new psychiatrist said it was time to stop the Effexor as after this time it wouldn’t be doing much so he reduced dosage by half every 2 weeks. The last 37.5 mg has proven impossible to stop with severe side effects. Hence trying the compounding pharmacy. They are making some half strength but can make any strength in a slow release capsule. I think he will wait until he sees how he is with nothing. He has developed severe kidney stones since being on Effexor and I have read this can possibly be a symptom so at this point he just wants to be drug free and if necessary start with something without the side effects he has been having.

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@wendyw

This is actually for my 40 year old son. He has been on several medications for anxiety over many years. His new psychiatrist said it was time to stop the Effexor as after this time it wouldn’t be doing much so he reduced dosage by half every 2 weeks. The last 37.5 mg has proven impossible to stop with severe side effects. Hence trying the compounding pharmacy. They are making some half strength but can make any strength in a slow release capsule. I think he will wait until he sees how he is with nothing. He has developed severe kidney stones since being on Effexor and I have read this can possibly be a symptom so at this point he just wants to be drug free and if necessary start with something without the side effects he has been having.

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@wendyw – Has your son discussed overlapping the stopping of Effexor and starting the new antidepressant? For many people, this greatly reduces the withdrawal symptoms. My doctor had me taper off Effexor at the same time as beginning Wellbutrin, and I don’t remember having any problems. Obviously, this varies greatly from one person to another.

Jim

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@wendyw

This is actually for my 40 year old son. He has been on several medications for anxiety over many years. His new psychiatrist said it was time to stop the Effexor as after this time it wouldn’t be doing much so he reduced dosage by half every 2 weeks. The last 37.5 mg has proven impossible to stop with severe side effects. Hence trying the compounding pharmacy. They are making some half strength but can make any strength in a slow release capsule. I think he will wait until he sees how he is with nothing. He has developed severe kidney stones since being on Effexor and I have read this can possibly be a symptom so at this point he just wants to be drug free and if necessary start with something without the side effects he has been having.

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Thanks Jim, that would probably be a good idea but he’s been on different meds for so long he wants to try without and see where he’s at.

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@wendyw

This is actually for my 40 year old son. He has been on several medications for anxiety over many years. His new psychiatrist said it was time to stop the Effexor as after this time it wouldn’t be doing much so he reduced dosage by half every 2 weeks. The last 37.5 mg has proven impossible to stop with severe side effects. Hence trying the compounding pharmacy. They are making some half strength but can make any strength in a slow release capsule. I think he will wait until he sees how he is with nothing. He has developed severe kidney stones since being on Effexor and I have read this can possibly be a symptom so at this point he just wants to be drug free and if necessary start with something without the side effects he has been having.

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@wendyw – I’m kind of at the same place. I’m going to talk to the neurologist on Tuesday about tapering off morphine and revisiting some of the neuropathy meds I’ve tried in the past, and see if any of them would help with the pain. The spinal cord stimulator has helped a lot, but it doesn’t do the whole job, especially if I’m on my feet for very long. Someone said that they had such a hard time getting off Effexor that they tapered on to another med temporarily while going off Effexor. Then they tapered off the other med, which didn’t have such severe withdrawal. I thought that sounded like a good solution.

Jim

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@wendyw

This is actually for my 40 year old son. He has been on several medications for anxiety over many years. His new psychiatrist said it was time to stop the Effexor as after this time it wouldn’t be doing much so he reduced dosage by half every 2 weeks. The last 37.5 mg has proven impossible to stop with severe side effects. Hence trying the compounding pharmacy. They are making some half strength but can make any strength in a slow release capsule. I think he will wait until he sees how he is with nothing. He has developed severe kidney stones since being on Effexor and I have read this can possibly be a symptom so at this point he just wants to be drug free and if necessary start with something without the side effects he has been having.

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Best wishes Jim. ATM my son is in the frame that he just wants to stop everything in case it’s causing his side effects

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Been trying to get off Effexor XL for a few weeks now. I was up to over 300 mgs. The brain zaps are terrible. The reason I want off so bad is the sweating. I’m constantly wiping my face all the time, and take showers to cool off. I weaned down to 75mgs, and then every other day. I just can’t do it. My ears ring, zaps all the time in my brain Daily, almost constant. I just took a 150mg to help me calm down. This is nuts!

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